GARRY Monk is appreciative of the collective Leeds United warmth for Preston boss Simon Grayson – but remains focused on plotting the former Whites manager’s downfall in today’s Championship showdown at Elland Road.
After being appointed in December 2008, Grayson enjoyed just over four years in charge at Leeds, taking the club out of the League One doldrums in 2010 and narrowly missing out on a Championship play-off place the following season. The Ripon-born manager was then sacked in February 2012 but remains one of the club’s most successful managers since relegation from the Premier League in 2004.
Monk’s win-percentage rate now surpasses Grayson’s but United’s current head coach is full of respect for his opposite number, who is nine years his senior.
“I have got a lot of time for Simon,” said Monk.
“I think he has done a fantastic job there. I know he did a fantastic job here as well.
“There’s a lot of affection for him here and quite rightly so.
I respect Simon hugely as a manager but come this game he will be wanting to win as much as I want to win and I’m just really concentrating on this group and giving them the best opportunity to show their best. Hopefully that comes on Saturday which I am confident it will do.Garry Monk
“I respect him hugely as a manager but come this game he will be wanting to win as much as I want to win and I’m just really concentrating on this group and giving them the best opportunity to show their best. Hopefully that comes on Saturday which I am confident it will do.”
Leeds were 4-1 winners in the reverse fixture at Deepdale on Boxing Day but Preston have hit a rich vein of form of late. The Lilywhites have lost just one of their last 11 games and sit only five points off the play-offs in eighth.
“Simon has done a great job there,” admitted Monk.
“We had a good game down there earlier on in the season so we are expecting another good game here. But we are really focused on what we need to do and how we need to do it and putting our best on the pitch.
“We know that when we do that, especially at Elland Road, we can win games and put in really good performances so that’s something that we are aiming for. It’s about imposing ourselves, we know what we are capable of and what we have shown many, many times already this season. It’s about showing what we are capable of.”